How Healthy is Your Terrain

How healthy is your terrain?

Written by: Dr. Michelle McConnell

As we say at Live Well, its not about the bug its about the terrain.  If you take for example some one that is contagious with the flu virus or any virus for that matter and put them in a room with a group of healthy people not all of those healthy people will come down with the flu. Why is that?

Staying healthy during cold and flu season is particularly harder this year with the novel coronavirus emerging. It has been determined that it is much more contagious compared to your common cold or the flu. But yet all of those people that a sick person encounters will not themselves get sick. Those that do not end up getting sick may just have healthier terrains or constitution. How do you strengthen your constitution?

Here are ways to increase your likelihood of staying healthy this season.

1.      Avoidance is key. Decrease public travel as much as possible. Obviously don’t travel to those areas that are most at risk and decrease travel when possible. If it is short distances consider a car trip rather than airplane travel. If you must travel touch as few things as possible such as taking an escalator. Try to balance yourself rather than holding a rail and if you do need to touch the rail use some hand sanitizer gel or wash your hands well. )

2.  Eat a healthy diet with plenty of dark green and array of colors. Many of the veggies that are purples, reds, yellows and greens have a whole lot of nutrients in them. As a matter of fact this is the largest source of nutrients in the foods we eat. Purple items have the most antioxidants. Try to eat organic in those veggie items that matter using this guide to know what fruits and vegetables are most important to purchase organic. The Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen (hyperlink: )

3.  Take your vitamins. Nutrients are important, some more than others when it comes to preventing the flu. Zinc is well known to block the receptor on cells that the flu enters. The best form is lozenges and nasal sprays. Vitamin C is important for immune function along with vitamin A (as beta-carotene).  In some cases, when you are around people who are sick, it is appropriate to take high doses of these. Consult with your doctor to learn what doses are optimal for you or consider getting an immune boosting IV.

4.  Natural herbs can help fight viruses.  Some herbs to consider are Echinacea and Elderberry. These are both very safe and have been shown to be effective at helping to clear viral infections and keep the immune system strong.  There are many other anti-viral herbs that can be more potent, but you should consult with a doctor prior to taking them.

5.  Masks as a physical barrier can be used if you are sick or if other people are sick.  The only mask that has been shown to be effective is the N-95 mask that actually has to be custom fit. Most surgical masks can actually increase your chances since many people end up touching their face more when they use a surgical mask.

We wish you health and wellness through this season!  If you find you need care for a viral infection please consider visiting us at Live Well Wellness Center. Our Naturopathic Medical Doctors will provide you with the tools you need to keep your immune system strong and decrease your chances of getting sick.

What you should know about the coronavirus

What You Should Know About the Novel Coronavirus

Written by: Michelle McConnell, NMD

It’s hard not to be worried with all the new media circulating about the Novel Coronavirus. We want to give you some information about this virus and how it compares to other well known viruses so you can make healthy decisions to stay well.  There are also ways you can help your own body be its best in order to survive this winter without catching any of the problematic bugs that make us sick. We often say here at Live Well, it’s not about the bug, really, it’s about the terrain (body and immune system). How healthy is your terrain?

The family of coronaviruses were first discovered in the 1960’s in chickens. There are seven strains that infect humans and they are thought to be a significant percentage of the common colds every year. There are strains that only infect animals as well. If you fully vaccinate your pet you will notice that one of the vaccinations is for the coronavirus. We have known about the coronavirus for a while now but the difference this year is there is a new strain and it is very infectious.

Historically, pandemics are scary because these events have killed vast populations very quickly. A pandemic is the widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time that crosses into another continent or can even be worldwide. There are three ways a virus is evaluated as an impact to human health. A virus is measured for its speed at which it spreads in a population called its R0  (“R-naught”), the ability for a virus to survive in the environment to infect others, and the severity of disease. Let’s compare the novel coronavirus to other well known annual viruses as well as those that have been deemed a threat to the community.

The R0 for the Flu is somewhere around 1.3-2 for comparison. This means that if you are sick you have the ability to pass the flu onto 1.3 -2 other people. The well known SARS or swine flu was much more contagious at an R0  of 2-4. Novel coronavirus falls about an R0 of 2-4 so this makes it more easily spread throughout populations which to medical professionals can be scary.

A good analogy to understand when the medical community identifies a new virus is when a region is told there is going to be a big storm coming. We know it is going to hit a community but we cannot say for sure how bad it will be. The best plan of action is to be prepared and be careful, limit travel and take precaution. This applies to anything seen as a new disease such as a virus. It is new, there is no vaccination for it, it may spread fast so if we don’t get the word out it could be bad.  On the other hand, it could be just another cold or flu type bug as well.

The media tends to really drive home the fear but for the most part this has not been very different from some of the other smaller outbreaks.  So far the Novel Coronavirus has about the same statistics as SARS with less deadly consequences.

The symptoms to look out for are much like a severe flu.

According to The Lancet, out of 41 patients in a study, all of them developed pneumonia, three quarters had a cough and more than half had breathing difficulties. According to the CDC situation report as of February 3rd there are 17,391 cases worldwide, 2296 severe cases, and 361 deaths.. In the US there are 11 confirmed cases with one identified in Arizona. This was an ASU student that had recently traveled to the point of origin, in Wuhan City, China. These statistics are slightly higher than the flu statistics. As a comparison the flu kills 290,000 to 650,000 per year worldwide and has a mortality rate of 2%. The coronavirus currently is at 2% as well.

So should you panic? Keeping the facts in perspective is important. Yes, this virus is unpleasant, yes it moves fast and yes it can kill. However, looking at the facts compared to the flu; it moves faster but still has the same mortality rate as the flu. It is also important to remember the situation is new and can change at anytime.

Learn how you can best prepare yourself for any season of sickness. Learn what to always have in the home and what information you can count on to help prevent getting sick.